Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Claire
Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Nephilim, Angels, Demons, Warlocks, Vampires, Demons, Faeries.
Clary Fray is having some major issues. Her best friend, Simon, is falling in love with her; her bad-boy crush, Jace, just might be her brother; her mom is in the hospital in a coma — oh, and did we mention that her dad is summoning an army of demons in a plot to take over the world?
It’s enough to make any girl want to scream, but Clary isn’t just any girl — she’s a Shadowhunter, and in Cassandra Clare’s new book, City of Ashes, her life gets a lot more complicated.
City of Bones, the prequel to City of Ashes, introduced readers to Clary and the alter-Manhattan she’s thrown into when she discovers she can see beyond the "glamours" that shield normal humans, or "mundanes," from the faeries, werewolves, vampires, and warlocks among us. In City of Ashes, Clary’s crash course in demon slaying gets even crazier, as Valentine, her long-lost father (and all-around bad guy), plans a political takeover of the Shadowhunter government with the help of the demonic forces Clary and her friends are sworn to fight.
Despite the magic themes, City of Ashes definitely isn’t your average fairy tale or fantasy book. Clare’s vision of modern-day Manhattan is gritty and edgy: Punked-out warlocks wear glitter eyeliner and leather pants, and faeries throw wicked dance parties. The plot’s twists and turns will keep you guessing, and Clare’s descriptions are so detailed, you’ll be able to imagine the characters and places clearly. Still, the real reason you won’t be able to put down City of Ashes is its awesome characters. You’ll get so drawn into the drama between Clary and her friends that the fact that they carry seraph blades, ride flying motorcycles, and get turned into vampires will barely register as anything out of the ordinary.
Clary is feisty and smart — totally the girl you want on your side when creepy Drevak demons are attacking. She isn't just a fighting heroine, though. You’ll have compassion for her when she’s feeling insecure next to her gorgeous friend, Isabelle, and unsure about the awkward romantic tension with Simon. You’ll also enjoy Jace and his snarky one-liners. The love triangle he, Simon, and Clary get caught in is a little weird, but Clare does a great job of mixing it into City of Ashes’ complex plot.
Of course, there are enough supernatural action sequences and gory battles to keep even the most hard-core fantasy fan’s adrenaline pumping. But be warned: Clare’s expert descriptions of the otherworldly dark forces Valentine summons can be truly creepy, and more than a bit disgusting.
Still, don’t let that scare you away from City of Ashes. Trust us, you’ll be so into this smart, funny, romantic read that you won’t even be frustrated at the cliff-hanger ending — to which I am excited to read City of Glass.